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A waiter at a bar the team frequents is a people watcher...

Tony Watching

"Girls are always running through my mind. They don't dare walk."

-- Andy Gibb

Steve people watched. His job as waiter and part-time bartender at C.J.'s made people watching easy. One of his favorite people to watch was the good-looking hunk from NCIS sitting at table 10 with his friends. He had been Tony watching for quite a few years now. He had to admit he had a terrible yen for the guy and his gorgeous green eyes but never approached him. Tony was just about as straight as the proverbial arrow. You could tell by the way his eyes followed every woman who went by him. Always calculating, assessing, imagining them naked beneath him moaning in ecstasy. No problem there. Steve did that himself with good looking guys, including Tony. He chuckled inwardly. It was just something guys, gay or straight, did. No harm, no foul – not matter what the feminists said. It came naturally.

A good guy, Tony; he always left a hefty tip when trying to impress the ladies but even when he was in with his work friends he'd joke with Steve and leave decent money. He liked the group he came in with too; the tall Goth chick with the bubby personality – go figure, and the nerdy guy, he had pretty green eyes too, and really the sweetest smile. Sometimes an older man with an accent and another nerdy guy with glasses joined them. There'd been a woman with them a few years back, what was her name – oh yeah, Kate. Nice enough girl, pretty too. She just never seemed to notice the hired help, not like Tony who went out of his way to make friends with serving staff; flirting with the girls and treating the guys like equals. Steve had noticed when Kate stopped coming around. He'd heard later she'd been killed in the line of duty.

After Kate, 3-4 years ago, Ziva became a member of the team. She was his favorite after Tony. She too watched passersby carefully, calculating and assessing them but in a totally different way. He hadn't realized why until he'd heard the others teasing her about being a Mossad agent. He noticed she watched Tony as well, when he was otherwise engaged; her dark eyes memorizing his every movement. Ziva had a quick wit, a magnificent body and she oozed a sexual heat even he felt. If he ever decided to go straight he wanted a girl like her to turn him but he'd never go after Ziva. Too dangerous plus he believed Ziva had removed herself from the modern mating rituals held at C.J.'s every weekend. She obviously wanted Tony and only Tony but he was either unaware, didn't care or, and Steve believed this to be the case, maybe the least bit afraid of his partner.

He picked up a tip from a table he had waited. Cheap bastard – thirty dollar tab and a dollar tip? Geez…

Yeah, Steve knew she was his partner from overheard conversations. How lucky can one straight guy with a cute ass get? The hot Mossad chick as a partner? That would be like Steve having Neil Patrick Harris as a partner, for God's sake, a dream come true.

Of course there were long periods over the past couple of years when Tony had vanished. He'd noticed. He always noticed when his favorite people didn't come in. Tony'd been gone for months at one point and Ziva had been a real bitch to the horndogs who came sniffing around, and they sniffed around her plenty. Steve had even seen her show a guy her gun once when he wouldn't back off. Then Tony was back but not quite the same happy-go-lucky guy he'd been before. He still looked at the girls but not with as much enthusiasm. Ziva stayed close by his side, keeping an eye on him. Steve didn't see him leave with anyone new for months, just always with his team.

Steve waited on a table taking their orders noting the woman's hand on the guy's thigh. This could be either good or bad for him. If they got too turned on and left early - very little tip. If she took her time with him then they'd have several drinks and his tip would be large because the guy would figure the drinking helped him score. Steve didn't have high hopes for a big tip with these two. Her hand had already moved two inches closer to the guy's groin.

He heard Tony's laugh over the crowd noise and looked back in time to see Tony slide his arm across the back of Ziva's chair and lean in to whisper something in her ear. She turned her head toward him and Steve could swear they were going to kiss, they were that close. But no, not this time. She shrugged and turned back to the geek, Tim…yeah, Tim was his name, laughing at something he said. Tony let his arm stay on Ziva's chair; in fact, he leaned in closer to her as he listened to whatever Tim was saying.

Ziva didn't move away as she might have before last summer. He hadn't seen either one of them the entire summer of '08. Tim and the Goth, Abby – Abby! That's right, her name was Abby. He knew it'd come to him. They'd come in together sometimes with the older guy with the bowtie and sit around looking sad. Steve had thought maybe Tony and Ziva had had a falling out but heard Tim say they'd been reassigned or some such. Abby cried in her beer a lot last summer.

Then in October the two of them were back and closer than before, at least from what he saw. The others perked up too and Abby stopped crying in public places. Steve noticed now Tony was always up in Ziva's personal space and she didn't seem to object. Before the summer, she'd often push him away or move away, sometimes even punch him. Then Cutie-Pie would make like she'd really hurt him oohing and ouching all the while smiling his killer smile. But now…

"Hey, Steve."

It was Tony calling him over to their table.

"Thanks, man. Everyone needs another round, put it on my tab. Abby wants another long neck, Probie needs another Manhattan and Palmer…"

Palmer – he was the other geeky guy with the glasses.

"Palmer needs another Margarita, right?"

The man in question nodded smiling broadly. Personally, Steve thought, Palmer didn't look like he needed another drink. Personally, Steve thought Palmer had less than five minutes before he passed out and thunked his head on the table unless one of his buddies caught him. Some people just could not hold their liquor.

"I'll have a long neck myself and my lovely ninja here will have a mojito"

The smile Ziva smiled when Tony said "my lovely ninja" took her from merely beautiful to absolutely stunning. The smile made Steve want to lean over to Tony and whisper in his ear, "She's yours…treat her well."

But he didn't. Wasn't his place. He just watched people. He didn't give advice. As he went to place their orders he glanced back and saw Tony's arm now over Ziva's shoulders hugging her to him. She wasn't punching him. Steve whistled tunelessly as he looked around at his tables. People watching, especially Tony-watching – highly entertaining.